Kentucky Basketball landed a surprise commitment from top-50 guard Nolan Hickman. What’s the impact of this for the Wildcats?
After losing out on five-star forward prospect Paolo Banchero to Duke a few days earlier, Kentucky Basketball quickly rebounded with a surprise of their own. This time it was Nolan Hickman, a consensus four-star point guard recruit out of Wasatch Academy in Utah.
One of the top players out west, the Seattle area native was figured to be a lock to remain out there. Programs such as UCLA, Arizona, and Oklahoma were viewed as leaders early on in the process, but Hickman himself never put out an official list. Yet after missing out on five-star prospect Kennedy Chandler, the coaching staff made a big effort to land another capable ball-handler to jumpstart the 2021 recruiting class.
The 6’2 guard is an all-around talent, capable of shooting, passing, defending ad scoring overall at a high level. Hickman may not be viewed as a “one and done” NBA Draft prospect yet, but he can easily develop into an All-SEC perimeter player in a couple of years.
That’s big for a Kentucky Basketball program who likely will lose incoming five-star freshman guard Devin Askew, as well as Creighton grad transfer Davion Mintz. Even though Hickman isn’t ranked in the top-20 overall, he’s arguably the third-best pure point guard in the 2021 class behind Kennedy and JD Davison, who didn’t have the Wildcats among his recently released final six.
Assuming Askew is gone after next season, Hickman would be the current starter on the 2021-22 squad. However, if Hunter Sallis, a five-star combo guard prospect who was recently offered a scholarship picks Kentucky in the future, he may end up being the lead ball-handler. There also is a possibility of an eligible veteran transfer that’s able to come in and start right away.
There’s certainly a risk for Noah Hickman joining Kentucky Basketball this early without knowing how the rest of the class ends up but for now, the Wildcats are finally on board with their first commit. He might not be as good as recent prized commits Chandler or Banchero, but Hickman is ready for his own journey with a nationally recognized program.
In due time, Hickman could be known as a nationally recognized player.